an aristocratic woman who disappeared with her sex offender Her partner and newborn baby have been “brainwashed” by a controversial Nigerian missionary, according to a childhood friend.
Constance Martin – from a wealthy family with royal ties – disappeared on January 5 along with convicted rapist Mark Gordon and their children after the couple’s car broke down and they were seized fire On the hard shoulders of the M56.
Police launched a desperate search to find them and feared for the safety of the mother and baby – who they don’t believe were seen by medical staff.
A family friend of Ms. Marten said the 35-year-old had lived in Nigeria for six months while working for the Rev. TB Joshua, leader and founder of the charismatic Christian megachurch Synagogue Church of all Nations.
She claimed Ms Marten was “traumatised” from the trip after becoming one of his “proteges”.
The friend also believed Gordon – who served 20 years in a US prison for raping a woman at the age of 14 – could now “control” Ms Martin.
Pastor TB Joshua, who died in June 2021 at the age of 57, was widely known in Africa and Latin America and was known for claiming he could heal the sick through “the supernatural power of God.”
Ms Marten – known to her friends as Toots – reportedly joined Joshua after attending an evangelical course exploring the Christian faith in London.
A friend of hers, who asked not to be named, told daily mail: “She ended up being one of his protégés in Nigeria. I believe she was brainwashed while she was there. She was deeply traumatized by the experience.
“When she came back, she wasn’t the same person. She was always wild, but also happy, kind and lively. She came back darker and she found things more difficult
“She never told us what really happened. TB Joshua was a godlike figure. It was scary and I believe it changed her. It was a huge part of her life.”
The friend said Ms Martin had “strained relations with her family” after her return from Nigeria.
She added: “She’s still energized in everything, but she’s finding relationships very difficult. It’s like she’s been totally fucked back. She’s more rebellious. She thought she’d recovered, but it’s not for her Difficult.”
The friend also explained that Ms Martin’s relationship with Mr Gordon made her family worry about her and she “disappeared from the face of the earth in about 2015 or 2016”.
She is also now concerned about the influence Mr Gordon may have, adding: “He may be the love of her life, he may not be as bad as everyone thinks, but he may have an influence on her too.”
Ms Marten and Mr Gordon have been evading police since they abandoned their burnt-out car near junction four on the M61.
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Police reportedly believe Ms Marten may have given birth in the car in the days before she disappeared, and said the family had no luggage because most of their belongings were destroyed in the car fire.
It is believed the couple walked to the Anchor Bridge after getting out of the car and used the cash to take a taxi to Liverpool and then a taxi to Colchester.
They were last seen at East Ham station in east London on January 7.
Ms Marten and Mr Gordon covered their faces and draped the baby every time they appeared on CCTV.